Monday, December 03, 2007

Yes! Reward Success!

Rudy Giuliani on poverty: "We have to have a society that rewards success. The only way in which we get people out of poverty is you help them help themselves by giving them the opportunity for a good education and the opportunity for a good job. That's how you deal with poverty — not with government welfare programs."

I couldn't agree more. Now, do we have a society that rewards success when our schools have the attitude that "the best and brightest will just have to be bored" (what I was told when I asked how I could reach both the "marginal students" and the best and brightest)? In fact, our schools themselves don't reward success. They are too busy creating a false sense of success by dumbing down the curriculae (and dumbing down the standardized tests when too many students fail them). So the first thing we need to do is work to create schools that actually provide "a good education." What our schools do now is try to give the world's most watered-down college-prep curriculum. The half who don't go and don't care to go to college neither need nor desire this type of curriculum. What they need is to be taught the kinds of skills they will need to work at the kinds of jobs they will be able to get without a college degree. The education they are now getting in our high schools will just barely make them qualified for McDonalds. What we need is a return to skills education: auto body, mechanics, workshop, etc. Last I heard, we still need mechanics, auto body repairmen, plumbers, electricians, etc. And they pay quite well, thank you very much you snobby liberals who ran these kinds of classes out of our high schools. A person who knows how to work with wood could make a great living making custom cabinets and furniture. In addition to classes like these, the kinds of students who would be in these classes need practical math, business, and English classes. In my dream world everyone would read and love "The Sound and the Fury" and get oh so much out of it -- but in the real world such works are for the few, and the rest need to learn how to read well enough to not get screwed over on a contract. Some training in that direction might not be a bad idea.

The fact of the matter is that the liberals have done a wonderful job of taking away education for the poor, and did so by giving them the education for the rich, which they then watered down so that nobody is getting an education. Not that it's hurting anybody. The universities will take almost anyone, and then blame the professors if they can't (or, quite frankly, don't care to) reach the "marginal" students (the P.C. term for the dumbest among us). We have an ethical obligation to provide the proper kinds of education for the right kinds of students, just as we have an ethical obligation to make our universities the places for the best and brightest to become the leaders of tomorrow (to use an old cliche) and not mere (note I said "mere") job training programs.

So Giuliani is on the right track -- I just hope he realizes that he can't build this idea on the rotten foundation known as the AMerican Educational System we have now.
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